It's over, thank goodness. It was a hectic week, a lot of waiting and killing time and tension. But it is over. And it was good fun and we met a whole lot of wonderful folks while we toiled as figurants #99 and #100 in our local history pageant.
The big day began with us reporting for duty, expecting to go over the last refinements of the program, at 11:00 am with our costumes and our folding chairs. Unfortunately, as has happened so often, we were victims of an informational error and we weren't expected until 3:00. Okay. We went home and showed up again at 3:00 for the second parade through town in our Noble person costumes. You can see Nancy and I walking down Cours St. Jaques having just passed the bar where our fan club was having refreshments. We traipsed through town, and eventually filed back to the chateau where the Spectacular was to take place. Backstage, Nancy and I changed costumes, which was what every other player was doing as well.
As had happened the day before, people showed up with their own costumes, medieval, Belle Epoch, Roman, gladiator, you name it. The advertising for the Spectacular says that you can come in costume and join the parade. I would say the participants in the Spectacular were joined by an equal number of costumed folks there for the sole purpose of parading through town with us. Remarkable, no?
Only after seeing these photographs by the esteemed neighbor and good friend Alan Simmons, was I aware that a member of the U.S. Cavalry was in the parade. I don't know why or who or where he came from but there he was. He was not in the Spectacular, and he's probably not American or a cavalryman, but he's pictured right in front of our house.
You can see me in my monk's costume as Simon de Montfort on horseback is extolling the Pope's army to go out and kill the simple, peace loving Cathars. You can see Nancy and I in our noble costumes parading and smiling on cue, and Nancy in her paysan costume doing something vaguely agricultural, harvesting invisible wheat, perhaps. The marauding gang of fur-bearing heathens are Huns attacking unsuspecting paysans.
The Spectacular went along without a hitch. Nothing that distracted from the enjoyment the passel of spectators were enjoying, anyway. But late in the play, one young man had a wardrobe malfunction. (I love it that we now have terminology for this event.) He was in his fourth or fifth change of costume and was strolling in his 1870's finery, top hat, morning coat, vest, with two damsels on either side, when his pants fell down. He was basically window dressing at the time and everyone's attention was focused elsewhere. He calmly walked along until such time as he could unobtrusively pull up his pants, and hold them there. But, I'm telling you, it was funny.
The horses and horsemen were great. Jousting, acrobatics, the Spectacular had it all. The horsemanship and what the presence of the big critters added to the event cannot be underestimated. Without the horses, it would have been something akin to a school play with better costumes. With the horses it approached spectacular.
A nice final touch to our first 'performance' on foreign soil was that the cast, rather than escaping to the dressing arbor to change into civilian clothes, applauds the audience as they exit the prairie du Chateau. In costume, we lined the walkway leading up to the road and clapped and cheered for the approximate thousand spectators.